Editor's Comment

IDC meet gamechanger

DESPERATE situations call for desperate measures, so goes a dictum. The importance of concerted effort in ensuring growth in parastatal companies cannot be overstated.
Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) should be commended for its efforts to see to it that public enterprises come back to life.
Its asset value growth from K42 billion to K107 billion shines a light on the efforts being made to contribute immensely to the country’s economic growth.
Its target to engage in co-investments worth US$1 billion in the next five years raises hope for public enterprises growth trajectory.
Since the creation of IDC group by Government, there has been a sense of hunger in companies to steer growth and make profits.
Much as the private sector is the engine of economic growth in the country, State-run businesses still play a crucial role in the economy.
Although it is often argued that Government cannot run a business, the State also has a duty to provide certain goods and services through parastatal companies.
Therefore, the call by IDC for State-owned enterprises to run like businesses has helped the companies to be more efficient and effective in their operations.
Companies under the IDC group should rise to the occasion and tap into the group’s business model to compete favourably on the market.
The IDC fourth annual conference being held in Livingstone has brought to the fore a sense of responsibility in the management of State-owned companies.
The paradigm shift in the approach to management of State-owned companies should bring back public confidence and attract clientele that would normally not want to be associated with public enterprises.
It is encouraging to note that it is no longer business as usual, the attitude which for a long time has been associated with public enterprises.
IDC board investment committee chairman Leonard Chiti is right in saying that the public businesses have been suffocated for a long time.
“We cannot relent on our quest to change, change from old habits and attitudes that have kept our companies suffocated for a long time,” he said.
Management of State-owned enterprises should drive the reforms without fear to ensure total turn-around in their businesses.
We also urge employees in public enterprises to change their mind-set and join in the spirit of teamwork to bring the desired results as prescribed by IDC.
No-one else can make a difference for public companies if it is not the employees themselves.
Employees should not look to Government to make a change in their enterprises, but their own dedication and commitment to duty will bring that change.
The concerns by Fr Chiti that the Group still has companies that have not transformed point to one thing: that the staff are not willing to change to bring growth to
those companies.
IDC can only do so much to public companies but the onus is on employees to work hard and make profit.
It is gratifying to note, however, that the number of public companies paying dividends has increased from one to eight, together raking in K140 million as at September this year.
This also goes to show that Government is committed to seeing public companies growing to serve the public better.
Indeed, as IDC Group chief executive officer Mateyo Kaluba said at the conference, the meeting would enable the companies to shares ideas and answer many questions.
In essence, public companies should not look at each other as sworn competitors but partners in delivering a service to the public.
Therefore, such interactions will go a long way in optimising IDC Group synergies for business growth as this year’s theme says.

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